Climate risk management
Managing climate risks is a major challenge of today and for the future. Climate-related disaster risk is increasing. The number of reported hydro-meteorological hazards (droughts, floods, wind storms, forest fires or landslides) has significantly increased in recent decades - from 195 (1987-1998 average) to 365 per year (2000-2006 average)1. In 20072, some 45 percent of recorded deaths and nearly 70 percent of total economic losses were due to climate-induced disasters.
Extreme climate events regularly affect multiple sectors including agriculture, food security, water resources and health. Climatic variability can trigger crop failures, shortages of water for irrigation, food insecurity and hunger. Impacts of extreme events such as droughts, floods and cyclones frequently accumulate into set backs of development gains and towards achieving the MDGs related to poverty, hunger and human health.
The emerging patterns of climatic hazard risk are presumably associated with climate change. It is expected, that global warming will enhance the hydrologic cycle, widen climatic ranges and lead to heavier rainfall events and more severe droughts. Increasing intensity of tropical cyclones as observed in recent decades may be linked to increasing sea surface temperatures. Further enchroachment of hazard prone areas is likely to enhance exposure of people, mainly the poor, and their economic assets to climate-related losses unless their vulnerabilities will be addressed and reduced.
Climate Risk Management - An Integrated Approach
FAO’s integrated approach for Climate Risk Management (CRM) addresses vulnerabilitities to short-term climate variability and longer-term climate change in the context of sustainable development. It promotes proactive, demand driven interventions to achieve positive outcomes for communities and societies in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, water resources, environment, and ultimately food security. At implementation level, the approach combines the promotion of current disaster risk management (DRM) with capacity building (both techncial and institutional) for medium to long-term climate adaptation, thus integrating four major aspects:
A key component of integrated Climate Risk Management in agriculture is the provision of usable weather and climate information products that help the farmers, livestock herders and fisher to proactively manage their risks and improve opportunities at local level. The ultimate objective of CRM is to enhance the resilience of rural livelihoods against climate change, and to better inform climate sensitive planning and decision making.
FAO's Contribution: the value added
Both current and future climate risks are of greatest concern to farmers as well as to policy-makers as they plan to meet development needs. The anticipatory approaches for managing current climate risks at national and local levels can equip decision-makers and communities to better understand and manage risks posed by climate change. Measures to reduce vulnerabilities and capacity-building to increase resilience are good investments, irrespective of any change that may happen now or later. Provision of appropriate forecast products with relevant impact outlooks, better informed policiy guidance and locally adapted management alternatives which match the farmer’s needs will help to reduce the negative impacts of climate change significantly.
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